Day 74 Legislative Session Report

by Senator Lyman Hoffman

Greetings –

It is day seventy-four. This week the Senate Finance Committee heard the following bills: SB 32: College Credit for High School Students, SB 36: University of Alaska Regents Reporting Requirements, SB 20: Out of State Teacher Reciprocity, SB56/HB76: Extending COVID-19 Disaster Emergency. In addition, the committee heard from Economist Mouchine Guetabbi, of the Institute of Social & Economic Research (ISER) from the University of Alaska on our state’s economy and Dan Robinson, Chief of Research & Analysis of the Department of Labor & Workforce Development. The committee approved and moved SB 32 and SB 36 to the full Senate for consideration.

The Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee head the following bills: SB 72: Secondary School Civics Education, and SB 17: Energy Efficiency and Policy Public Buildings.

Many blessings to you and your family for a happy and healthy Easter!

Coming Soon

The Emergency Broadband Benefit program will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10-$50 toward the purchase price.

Eligible households are:

•Qualifies for the Lifeline program

•Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school meal programs

•Received a Federal Pell grant during the current year

•Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single and $198,000 for joint filers

•Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider existing low-income or COVID-19 program

The program is authored by the FCC, but the start date is not yet established. Check out the Broadband Benefit Consumer FAQ (see link below) for more information about this program.

SB 32: College Credit for High School Students

SB 32 establishes a middle college program at the University of Alaska (UA). Public school students who have completed grade 8 and have not graduated will be eligible to earn both high school and college credit for courses as allowed by UA. The bill allows the public school to receive an average daily membership (ADM) for qualifying students to be used to cover UA tuition costs. Other fees, including books and transportation, are the responsibility of the student.

SB 32 is scheduled to come before the full Senate on Monday, April 5th and then will be transmitted to the House.